Skin Disorders

Skin Disorders

Skin disorders cover a wide range of conditions, some benign, some very serious, and some even a sign of another underlying illness. A skin disorder not only affects your physical health, but also your emotional well-being.


SkinCareSkin Disorders › Lichen Simplex Chronicus

Lichen Simplex Chronicus

Lichen simplex chronicus (LSC) is a special localized fonn of lichenification usually occurring in circumscribed plaques. Lichenification is a characteristic feature of atopic dermatitis, whether generalized or localized. Lichen simplex can last for decades unless the rubbing and scratching is stopped by treatment of the lichenified skin. Lichen simplex, also called neurodermatitis, is a common skin problem. It generally affects adults, and may result in one, or many itchy patches.

Lichen simplex is a type of dermatitis, and is usually the result of repeated rubbing or scratching. The stimulus to scratch may be unrecognized, perhaps a mosquito bite, stress, or simply a nervous habit.

Causes of Lichen simplex chronicus

Lichen simplex chronicus is often caused by constant rubbing of the skin. A special predilection of the skin to respond to physical trauma by epidennal hyperplasia; skin becomes highly sensitive to touch, a fact probably related to proliferation of nerves in the epidermis. The very abnonnal itching hyperexcitability of lichenified skin arises in response to minimal external stimuli that would not elicit an itch response in nonnal skin.

Signs and symptoms of Lichen simplex chronicus

Pruritus, often in paroxysms. The lichenified skin is like an erogenous zone­it becomes a pleasure (orgiastic) to scratch. Often the areas on the feet are rubbed at night with the heel and the toes. The rubbing becomes au­tomatic and reflexive and an unconscious habit.

Most patients with LSC give a history of itch attacks starting from minor stimuli: putting on clothes; removing ointments; clothes rubbing the skin; and when they go to bed, the skin becomes warmer and the warmth precipitates itching.

Lichen simplex chronicus Diagnosis

A dermatologist, a physician specializing in the study and treatment of skin disorders, can make a diagnosis after a visual exam.

Treatment for Lichen simplex chronicus

The primary treatment is to stop scratching the skin. This may include counseling to become aware of the importance of not scratching, stress management, or behavior modification.

The itching and inflammation may be treated with a lotion or steroid cream applied to the affected area of the skin. Peeling ointments, such as those containing salicylic acid, may be used on thickened lesions. Soaps or lotions containing coal tar may be recommended.

Among the topical medications that relieve itching are a number of commercial preparations containing menthol, camphor, eucalyptus oil, and aloe. Topical cortisone is also available without a prescription. Some preparations also contain antihistamines, which penetrate intact skin poorly. All these medicines work better under occlusion, which means putting a waterproof barrier like a rubber glove or plastic wrap over them. For broken skin, topical antibiotics like bacitracin help prevent infection. These should be used early to forestall further damage to the skin.

Tips on preventing and treating Lichen simplex chronicus

Early, gentler substitutes for scratching can entirely prevent lichen simplex chronicus.


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